Building an equitable food system

A collaboration between

Through our purchasing habits and business practices, the food system has the capacity to nourish our bodies, our planet, and our neighborhoods. It has the potential to be accessible, equitable, fair, healthy, diverse, and sustainable. To help Michigan work towards this goal, People First Economy has a few small steps you can take in your work life and home life that will promote positive change. 

Local Action. Global Impact.

Nourish Our Community amplifies the work of the 2022 Michigan Good Food Charter from the Center for Regional Food Systems. The 2022 Charter outlines a shared vision for a good food system in Michigan with six goals, six strategies, and 22 action recommendations. The Charter calls for systemic change by supporting food systems that ensure food is accessible to everyone, promote healthy communities, use fair and sustainable production methods, and support a diverse and equitable society.

In addition to organizations in Michigan, the Nourish Our Community initiative aligns with global efforts to create positive change. The Sustainable Development Goals are outlined by the United Nations Global Compact and recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. What are the SDGs?

Ways to start

Good For Michigan Grocery List

Think of this as a checklist for your business to get more engaged in a prosperous food system. Each item contains helpful tools to help you create a People First Economy. 
 
Share which ones you’re working on through your social channels to inspire your peers and show off your values to your customers.

Right click (or tap and hold) on the images to save them, then upload to your social media!

The Michigan Good Food Charter is a guide for creating and sustaining good food systems rooted in Michigan communities.

Local Food Policy Councils work to import our food systems in Michigan. They are made up of community members, government representatives, business owners, farmers, and educators.

Search the map to find yours!

Supply chain plays a huge part in a nourished community. Taking a close look at what yours looks like will uncover fantastic opportunities to walk out your values:

  • Who are your suppliers?
  • What are their practices and priorities?
  • Are you prioritizing minority-owned businesses?

Check out B Lab’s Best Practices Guide and the MEDC’s Small Business Resource Finder to make impactful shifts!

The SDG Action Manager is a free online tool that can help you manage your contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals. The Baseline assessment can help you identify areas of growth and highlight your strengths. It includes 25-35 questions depending on your industry and size of business. The Good For Michigan team can help you get on the right track. 

Get started!

Local First Grocery List

Think of this as a checklist to get more engaged as an individual in a food economy that puts People First.

Show off which ones you’re doing and encourage your friends!

Right click (or tap and hold) on the images to save them, then upload to your social media!

  • Why do you love about this business?
  • How do they contribute to your sense of place?
  • Who served you and how did they do?
  • What is your favorite dish? Make sure to leave a picture!

The Michigan Good Food Charter is a guide for creating and sustaining good food systems rooted in Michigan communities.

Food has the potential to heal the relationship with the earth. Purchasing from a market or farmer reframes our understanding of where our food comes from and how it gets to our plates.

  • Where is the produce from?
  • Does the menu mention area farms or producers?
  • Please be kind: the food industry has faced numerous challenges and hardships in the last few years, which contributes to increased prices. Learn more

Supporting farms can be more than purchasing fresh produce. Here are a few things to think about next time you’re out!

  • Get to know the  farmers that grow your food
  • Tour a local farm
  • Leave a review for a local farm
  • Fill your freezer with local produce
  • Buy merch from your favorite farm

As we work to address and dismantle the root causes and ongoing impacts of racism and other systemic inequities, we can also celebrate the folks who have paved the way for more BIPOC ownership.

Michigan loves to celebrate food. So many of our communities have ways to search for events going on in your backyard – wherever that may be! Use these lists as a jumping off point. 

B Corps are for-profit companies that use the power of business to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. They meet the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. 

Dig Deeper

Make Farmers Black Again

People of color are leading a resurgence of interest in farming in the Northeast, and yet for these farmers, the barriers to starting a farm remain high. Between lending discrimination and rising costs, many obstacles stand in the way of Black Americans looking to own farmland.

What it’s like being a Black business owner

Black business owners experience losses disproportionate from the average. In fact, while active business owners in general fell by a huge 3.3 million during this past year, the number of Black business owners fell by a staggering 41%. In our local food world, less than 2% of farmers are Black business owners, due to historical and ongoing systemic racism. 

Eating for the Environment

Why do you buy locally-grown food? Is it the flavor and quality? The chance to build community connections and relationships? To support a strong local economy? To have a positive environmental impact? Most likely, it’s some combination of all of the above.

Reclaiming Food Sovereignty

The commonly used term for neighborhoods lacking access to healthy, affordable food is “food desert.” However, Karen Washington, a food justice advocate, is attempting to shift public discourse by coining the term “food apartheid.” 

Indigenous Foodways

The Anishinaabe are people of a particular place, as the Indigenous peoples of the Great Lakes. Our identities, histories, spirituality, and traditions are inseparable from our respective ancestral territories. 

New to a CSA? A Personal Tale

A story of one person’s first experience getting a CSA share (and what they did with the contents).

Creating good-food community

Green Wagon Farm talks about how using simple, ancient techniques helps them grow food that’s produced sustainably, shared equitably, and enjoyed with pleasure.

 

What is Food SPICE?

Food SPICE (Food Systems Partners Investing in Communities and Entrepreneurs) connects food businesses and other food systems partners to work together to grow equitable local economies across Michigan, with a special focus in Southwest Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

The 2022 Nourish Our Community initiative is powered by:

Our vision is a thriving economy, equity, and sustainability for Michigan, the country, and the planet through food systems rooted in local regions and centered on Good Food: food that is healthy, green, fair, and affordable.

Michigan Good Food Fund is a statewide loan fund that invests in good food enterprises working to increase access to healthy food and spark economic opportunity in places that need it most.

Bridge Street Market is your neighborhood grocery store bringing fresh, affordable, and local products to Grand Rapids’ vibrant West Side and beyond.